An introduction to Ball Hockey

Since the children got interested in ice hockey, namely the Leeds Knights, they have found a new sport to play and, if I’m being honest, get addicted to – ball hockey!

What is ball hockey?

In its simpliest form, ball hockey is ice hockey that is played on ground (rather than ice) and uses a ball rather than a puck.

It uses the exact same equipment (apart from the skates!) and whilst there are minor rules that are different, all in all, it is the same game.

Ball hockey training

One important thing is that there is no fighting and no rough-and-tumble that you associate with ice hockey. As such, it is a much safer sport and definitely child appropriate!

What equipment do I need to play ball hockey?

As the sport is pretty much the same as ice hockey, you need the same equipment. This includes:

– helmet

– stick

– shin guards

– bottle with straw on (which sounds weird, but drinking with a helmet on is difficult!)

– large bag to hold all the equipment.

Helmet with stick and gloves!

You can get other protection including:

– shoulder pads

– elbow pads

– knee pads

– neck guard

but it is personal choice on those items. There is a danger that if your child has too much equipment, they won’t be able to run!!

To start with, you are probably best to get the equipment second hand from either Facebook Marketplace or Ebay. When you start off with a team, they will likely have some spare kit to try during training sessions, and it is useful to get their input on sizing before purchasing.

You can probably expect to spend between £50 and £100 to start things off, on a second hand basis.

If your child wants to be a goalie, then you’re talking much, much more than that! Also, it will take much a lot of room in your house and car!!

If you want to play in competitive games, it is likely that you will need to buy a kit as well.

The Leeds Rams kit being expertly presented!

Where can I play ball hockey?

Heidi and Oscar play at the Leeds Rams Ball Hockey Club and I have to say it has the friendliest people attached to it. You can find their Facebook page here, and their website here.

As ball hockey isn’t a massive sport, there aren’t loads of teams and so if you’re not in Leeds, you’re best finding a team through the UK Ball Hockey Association website here.

There are other Yorkshire teams in Bradford, Sheffield and Rotherham, so hopefully there isn’t one too far away.

Leeds vs Sheffield Steelers

Can boys and girls play ball hockey?

The wonderful thing about the sport is that boys and girls can play in the same team. This has meant that Oscar and Heidi can play together, which is wonderful from a family point of view. It also makes it much easier for logistics!!

Heidi and Oscar before their first tournament together

In children’s games, there are age groups, generally in 3 year bands (for example ages 7 to 10). Girls can play down a year, meaning an 11 year old girl can play against 10 year old boys. This is a really good feature and helps promote girls playing the sport. However, as the sport is a good mix of physical and technical skill, the difference between the sexes isn’t that great.

What does ball hockey mean for the children?

Heidi says: It is really good and fun

Oscar says: Hockey is life

(never ask children for quotes!!)

The sport has also meant that the kids have made a great bunch of friends, who generally finish off a training session with a water fight!!

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